Elevator Pitch: Helpling

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with co-founder Phillip Huffman from Helpling.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Helpling is the leading global online platform for on-demand home and office services. On the website or the mobile app, customers can book a vetted and insured cleaner in a few clicks. The innovative online service gives people more time to enjoy the nice things in life: family, friends and free time. Helpling was founded by myself, Benedikt Franke and Rocket Internet in January 2014 and has been operating in Australia since September 2014. The company currently has more than 250 employees across 12 countries and offers its service in more than 200 cities globally including Sydney and Melbourne. This makes Helpling the most widely available online marketplace for household services in the world.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Each month we execute a detailed marketing plan comprising a mix of online and offline campaigns. We focus mostly on campaigns with conversions as the primary objective. We believe in our service and we therefore want prospective customers to try it and experience the benefits themselves.

What's the biggest challenge facing your business?

We have been growing rapidly since we launched. To facilitate demand we are consistently looking for new cleaners. All our cleaners need to have cleaning experience, a clean police record, an ABN and public liability insurance. Our selection process also includes an interview. The rigor and subsequent time required of this process makes it difficult to scale as quickly as we would like.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

Here in Australia we are the largest player which allows us to leverage algorithms to more accurate match users with relevant services. We also offer our service at a lower rate than our competitors

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Definitely Tinder. I travel a lot for work and it gets lonely to always be by yourself ;-) On a more serious note I really enjoy the Netflix app.

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

Do not get lost in the day-to-day activities but make sure on a daily basis that the things you are working on are the things that have maximum positive impact on your business

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Comments

    I was extremely dissatisfied with Helpling. I booked their services as I had some guests staying at my place, and they let me know that when they arrived, they felt the place was unclean and avoided using our kitchen. I could only assume that Helpling had failed to show up, and notified the company of this. Helpling responded by saying that I needed photographic evidence that they had not done a proper clean within 24 hours of the purported clean, something that I did not have knowledge of at the time of booking. After several emails back and forth with Helpling, where I requested some compensation for their lack of service, the only thing they offered me was a discounted future clean. I would never book with this company again after the appalling service they have provided, and their suggestions that I book with them again add insult to injury. I still have absolutely no evidence that they ever even cleaned at all, and frankly feel that after dealing with their company, it was unsafe for me to have given them access to my apartment, as they do not provide the service that they claim to provide, that is, cleaning.

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